As of January 2017, I have been working in corporate, and it is my first a job that doesn’t involve working for the church.
When I have worked for the church, my hours and days were spent gearing up for whatever ministry activity I was going to engage in—bible study, door knocking, prayer meeting, etc.
But now that I work for a company, my day is full of marketing-related tasks. I spend several hours each day thinking about generating marketing content and strategies. On any given day, I am in and out of meetings where we look over charts measuring our social media impressions. By the time I get home, my brain is tired, and I’m ready to lie down and not think very hard anymore.
My days begin to blur together, and no matter how much I plan to get things done in the evenings, it just doesn’t feel like I have the energy for anything.
This has frustrated me because I really want to get back to regularly doing personal ministry. I have ideas for a bible study group, and when I share them with my fiancée, she gets excited and encourages me to do them.
But so far, July is almost over and I haven’t done anything to develop a regular bible study or prayer group since I graduated back in early May.
I like to excuse myself by saying I lack time.
But that is a poor excuse because we make time for what we want.
We tell people that we don’t have time for something only when it doesn’t register as a priority, but the reality is that we make time for our priorities.
I believe the reason that I am stuck in ideation is due to getting caught up in an insecure perfectionism that paralyzes me from simply trying things. In other words, my desire to feel exceptional is stopping me from inviting a friend or two to create a bible study because I know that I won’t be able to devote several hours into preparing without sacrificing some aspects of my comfort, like waking up a little earlier or staying up a little later.
When I have had a title and an income from the church, my personal comfort has not had to suffer so that I could prepare for a ministry activity because I had the entire day to do it.
But now, I have two problems: 1) I have less energy to go around because my job is outside the church, and 2) I am unwilling to adjust my schedule because I like ministry to fit comfortably within my schedule.
This will not do. I am too aware that we are all called to do kingdom work for God whether we have a church job or not and whether it is comfortable or not. The schedule adjustments are simple, and honestly, it would probably be healthier for me to adjust my waking and sleeping patterns.
And what about the other mental barrier? Well, have you ever felt bad because you were about to do some gospel work at less than optimal performance?
I know I have.
We are big on preaching and teaching that we should all be ready to give God 150% at all times, and generally, I agree that this is a good ideal to preach. Especially when it comes to our hearts and will, we ought to be completely surrendered. Just like in an intimate relationship with another human, there should be no wavering or half-heartedness when it comes to our commitment.
But when it comes to how we do ministry, I have a word of encouragement for those who like me want to do kingdom work while balancing a full-time job: honesty is better than perfection.
When the apostle Paul speaks about his evangelistic methods with the Corinthian communities, he states that he came to them without any intentions of speaking to them using lofty words or human philosophy. His focus was to speak simply and clearly about Christ’s redemptive work (1 Cor 2:1-2). And with that as his primary evangelistic tool, he became one of the most effective evangelists ever.
We should use his experience and testimony as evidence that people are looking for honest humans to dialogue with about the big questions in life more than they are looking for exquisite performers.
The command to be a disciple-maker never stops, but in moments when schedules are tight and energy runs low and at best you can only offer 80% in service, then I encourage you to do it anyways.
God can bless and multiply the 80% Christian, but there’s little to be done with the 0% Christian dreaming 120% ideas.